Archives départementales de l'Ariège

  • Departmental Archives of Ariège


Chemin de la Montagne 59


+33 (0)5 34 09 36 80


+33 (0)5 61 65 45 37


The history of the Ariège archives dramatically illustrates the fact that they are recognised as the foundation of power and society. The law of 5 Brumaire An V had ordered the gathering of all the titles and papers belonging to the Republic, that is to say those of the old and new administrations and those seized from the Church and the emigrants, at the county seat. This regrouping was done in Foix in the abbey Saint-Volusien, seat of the central administration then of the prefecture. Almost everything that had been gathered there disappeared one night in October 1803 in a fire that was certainly set to prevent conscription. The central collection of parish and civil registers was the first target, and with it the charters of the Château de Foix and the papers of the revolutionary administrations.

From 1845 onwards, the Departmental Archives became a real service with an archivist-paleographer at its head from 1872. Expansion, reintegration of dispersed collections, creation of a library, and setting up a public reception area were the long and patient work of several generations. Special mention must be made of Félix Pasquier (1874-1895) who made this service a centre for conservation, research, publication and dissemination in all areas of Ariège civilisation, from medieval history to the works of the Félibrige movement, from archaeology to the organisation of the Foix festival...

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The Departmental Archives are responsible for the deposit of public archives by all administrations and public establishments whose headquarters are located in the department. They receive deposits from municipalities with fewer than 2000 inhabitants. They carry out an important action of collecting private archives which can enter by gift, legacy, deposit or purchase.

Classification is a fundamental mission of the archive services. It consists of putting archive documents in intellectual and physical order. After classification, the documents are described and finding aids are written to enable readers to access the contents of the collections.

Archive buildings are designed to ensure the physical preservation of documents in the best possible conditions in order to protect their integrity and allow their communication. Archival documents are fragile and must be protected against multiple degradations caused by -variations in temperature and humidity -too much handling -exposure to light -dust, -insects and rodents... Preventive measures are taken to avoid fire, flooding, theft...

Making archives accessible to the public is the raison d'être of the departmental archives. Communication is the result of the three previous missions and can take different forms -consultation in the reading room, where scientific researchers, genealogists, local history enthusiasts or citizens looking for a right can consult the documents -exhibitions, publications or conferences, -educational service for young people. Communication also concerns the producing services which need to consult the files they have deposited.

The Departmental Archives have a training mission with regard to producing services, municipalities, public establishments. They assist them in managing current archives and in depositing definitive archives. This support may take the form of advice, training or on-site interventions.


The Departmental Archives have always been confronted with the problem of the capacity of their premises. From the Prefecture, where they had been set up, they were transferred in 1943 to a disused building in the Foix prison, which they left in 1985 for the building which now houses them on the heights of Montgauzy.

The building has filled up, which is normal, attendance has increased and the use of new technologies has developed. To meet these new needs, the General Council planned an extension to the building, which was completed in 2011. This extension increased the capacity of the shops and provided the public with a new, more spacious and user-friendly reading room.

Opening Times

The reading room is open without appointment at the following times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 12 noon and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday from 8.30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Conditions of Access

The Departmental Archives are a public service. Access is free for all. On their first visit, all users of the Ariège Departmental Archives are invited to register with the room supervisor.

To do this, they must prove their identity by presenting a document containing a photograph and give information concerning their permanent address and the purpose of their research. Following these formalities, a reader's card will be issued after the reader's card has been signed. No document will be released without these registration formalities having been completed.

Research Services

Researchers can order documents during their working session at the usual opening hours. The possibility of reserving documents in advance remains open. The researcher should send an e-mail to or with the document numbers and the day and time when he/she wishes to come. This request must be made at least 24 hours in advance. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the user.

Please note that annual registration is subject to presentation of a valid identity document with photograph. No material will be provided: each researcher must bring his/her own paper, pencil and a USB key to use the digitiser.

Reproduction Services

Photocopying of any civil status document as well as any book or document that is fragile or likely to be damaged is prohibited. Photocopying of any book or bound document and any document larger than A3 is strictly limited to obtaining a fee, subject to proof.


If you can help improve this information please contact us at